Sept. 7, 2006 – Board of Elections Chairman Lawrence Boschulte announced Wednesday the board's training schedule for poll workers for the coming elections.
The training began Wednesday evening at the Education Curriculum Center on the East End, where there will be another session Friday at 6 p.m. Training will also take place Thursday evening at 6:30 p.m. at the Legislature building on St. John.
All these sessions are open to the public, Boschulte said, except an in-depth session Thursday at the downtown elections office for monitors only.
Boschulte said Supervisor of Elections John Abramson has added a new position this year to help voters. Facilitators will check to see if voters are in the correct lines. They will also assist senior citizens by moving them up to the front of the line to shorten their wait.
Boschulte gave a rundown of what the various election officials do. He said that in addition to the facilitators, there are judges, inspectors, monitors and clerks. A judge is in charge of each polling district and gives direction and assignments to the election officials. Inspectors are in charge of the district register, or the "big, black books," as Boschulte said. The inspectors verify that voters are in the books and check them off after they have voted.
Monitors assist voters in the use of the voting machines; they reset and activate the machine after each voter. Clerks keep tabs on the number of people voting. Boschulte added that voters would also see poll watchers or law enforcement officials.
Boschulte said training for the judges was conducted Tuesday evening. There are two judges for each polling site, about 28 for the district, he said.
He said the emphasis this year is on making the workers "more friendly." "The facilitators will walk around seeing if anyone needs assistance," he said.
Boschulte said elections personnel, in compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act, would assist sight-impaired individuals with headphones.
There are no openings right now for poll workers in the St. Thomas-St. John district. Most of the poll workers have held their posts for years, Boschulte said, and must be sworn in at training, as well as at the polls, to be able to touch the election machines. According to Boschulte, they work a long day – 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. – and cannot leave the premises once they check in, unless the board, for some reason, declares an emergency. However, they are well fed. The board supplies breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.
"We don't have a hard time finding workers," Boschulte said. "They are paid positions. We accept applications all year, but we don't have a hard time finding workers." He added, "That's not always true in the states; some jurisdictions have said they hire anyone if they have a pulse."
Boschulte also had a few tips for voters: and no smoking or drinking of alcoholic beverages at voting sites and be prepared before entering the voting booth. He said voters have five minutes to cast their ballots.
Another word to the wise: voting under a false name, or voting more than once, can earn you fine up to $1,000 or up to a three-year jail sentence.
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